Lawmen had approached Tommy Swint’s apartment in Phenix City, Ala., on Wednesday when they heard what sounded like a gunshot and found him dead from a single bullet to the head.
“We believe it to be self-inflicted, and he was the only person home at the time,” said Lee County, Ala., sheriff’s chief investigator Capt. Van Jackson.
Swint, 43, had just been indicted in Dayton, Ohio, for the 1991 slaying of Tina Ivery, whose strangled and partially nude body was found in a trash pile. Jackson said he didn’t know Swint’s relationship, if any, to the victim.
“Although no suspects were identified at the time, a re-examination of the evidence uncovered new information, including DNA evidence, that led investigators to the defendant,” said Prosecuting Attorney Mathias H. Heck Jr. in Montgomery County, Ohio.
He said Swint had been a police officer in Trotwood, Ohio, but was terminated for disciplinary reasons.
Swint was hired at West Georgia Medical Center in August after nothing turned up on a criminal background investigation and his personal references checked out, hospital spokeswoman Allison Davis said Monday, adding, “His record was spotless.”
Sheriff’s officers from Lee and Russell counties were trying to serve a fugitive arrest warrant and a search warrant when Swint apparently shot himself. Items were seized from the apartment as possible evidence, and the Alabama Bureau of Investigation started a probe of the shooting.
“We investigate any time a police officer is involved in a shooting, and we’ll turn over our findings to the district attorney’s office,” said ABI spokesman Steve Jarrett.
He said no ABI agent was present during the attempted arrest and shooting.
Joel Martin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (706) 884-7311, Ext. 235.